The PNG's Supreme Court decision will not sway the Australian government's position on asylum seekers

A 2012 file photo of the Manus Island Regional Processing Facility. Photo by the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship via Getty Images

The Australian government has no plans to change its position on asylum seekers following a Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court decision that ruled their detention on Manus Island was illegal.

So far prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has said the ruling was under consideration and the government was getting advice from lawyers.

The Australian government may have to find a new home for 850 asylum seekers after the PNG court ruled that detaining them breached PNG’s constitution.

Speaking on Sky News this afternoon, immigration minister Peter Dutton reiterated the government would stand by its decision and would not have the detainees on Manus Island settled in Australia.

“People on Nauru and on Manus who have come by boat will not settle in Australia. I cannot be any clearer on that,” he said.

Dutton also revealed that a 23-year-old male on Nauru, who had originally come from Iran by boat, had set himself alight this morning.

“He’s in a very serious condition and the plan is to provide an air lift for him later tonight,” he said.

“There’s been other incidents of self-harm… If people come to Australia for medical assistance, they return to Nauru once it’s provided.

“We’ve provided millions of dollars of enhancements to medical support services on Nauru and people can receive medical assistance there.

“There is a lot of support being provided on a daily basis,” he said, adding that support included that for mental health.

In a statement, the Nauruan Government said the man “set himself on fire, while making a political protest to coincide with the visit by representatives from UNHCR”.

The government is currently in talks with other countries that could take processed refugees while making sure “it doesn’t send the wrong signal to people smugglers”.

Labor’s immigration spokesman Richard Marles has hit back at Dutton’s response to the ruling saying it “raises serious concerns about his lack of a contingency plan”.

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